William Dunbar (c.1460-1520) bridges the divide between medieval bard and Renaissance poet. From the sonorous beat of the Lament for the Makaris to the subtle satire of "The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo", his self-knowledge and mocking wit points to the development of a modern artistic consciousness while his skill, craftsmanship and sense of language still have the power to inspire today. This book is a must-have for any serious scholar of European Medieval and Renaissance literature. The first volume gives the text of every Dunbar poem while the second provides a wealth of explanatory notes and reference material, allowing each poem to be easily studied in-depth. As well as freshly established texts of all Dunbar's works, these two volumes contain a full introduction; a complete listing of textual variants in all the early manuscripts and printings; extensive notes on every poem; a glossary; and lists of sources and secondary material.
One of the editor's chief concerns has been to elucidate not just the literal sense but also the connotations of Dunbar's words: the figurative and metaphoric uses, the legalisms, poetic archaisms, puns and other wordplay, as well as the use of proverbs, scriptural allusions and debts or affinity to earlier poets. This has taken her into many varied and unexpected areas of medieval life and thought in assembling her line-by-line commentary on every poem in the edition. Readers will find new information about obscure words and phrases and no difficult passage is passed over silently. These volumes are a tribute not only to the wonderful poet whose works they contain but also to the industry, erudition and acumen of his latest editor.